Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ (KYL/D) newest work in development, Home: S. 9th Street references immigrant journeys, notions of “American-ness” and the meaning of “home”. Funded in part by PNC Arts Alive, this new work is informed by the stories of diverse community members along Philadelphia’s famed South 9th Street corridor, where KYL/D’s dance center – CHI Movement Arts Center – is located, and where Artistic and Executive Directors Kun-Yang Lin and Ken Metzner reside. KYL/D has commissioned Cory Neale to compose original music for the piece. The world premiere of Home: S. 9th Street will be presented by Philadelphia’s FringeArts in Fall 2015.
Through Home, Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin – himself an immigrant from Taiwan – and six members of the KYL/D ensemble are working for the first time with community engagement methodologies adapted from the practices of the acclaimed Cornerstone Theater Company of Los Angeles. Cornerstone’s co-founder provided on-site training to KYL/D stakeholders in these practices and assisted with KYL/D’s first of three “story circles,” in which KYL/D’s artists and local residents engage in creative, communal dialogue. Through the creative process of “Home,” listening becomes a gesture of grace, a way to explore issues of social import, grapple with struggles for justice, and sow seeds for healing and community building through the arts.
As Home develops, KYL/D is sharing the piece in a series of work-in-process showings throughout the city. In early January, for example, KYL/D shared excerpts with an audience of over 1,000 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a complement to the Museum’s exhibit of the photography of Paul Strand, who, like Lin, explored the question of “what does it mean to be an American?” Other showings of the work-in-process will be at the Temple Dance Faculty Concert (January 30th & 31st); at CHI Movement Arts Center Open Dialog events (Jan. 24 and March 21), which accompany the excerpts with conversation among the artistic collaborators and audience; and several showings in May, including during the 9th Street “Italian Market” Festival. We are motivated to share this work broadly in Philadelphia and beyond as a creative expression of the immigrant journey. We hope to inspire conversation around diverse understandings of home, individuality and community.